Dream a little dream of me

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Nadine, my daughter asked me a few months after I ended my corporate sabbatical.

“Mummy, why do you like to work so much? Why can’t you stay at home and relax?”

So many questions, and for a moment, I was stumped. At the same time, I was flooded by the feelings of being loved and wanted.

I told her because I love my work and you will understand when you grow up.

My career journey so far

Looking back, I have always been a good student, serving as the School Captain – Indira Gandhi House, and clinching the ‘Best All-Rounder’ title in my Xth Std. I was into extra-curricular activities, especially literary, apart from the usual academic drill.

I had harbored dreams of becoming a journalist and author. But, I succumbed to well-intentioned parental advice to take up science and become a doctor instead. I listened like a good, obedient girl, which was my mistake back then. But, life teaches you through your mistakes, and you learn not to repeat them.

As expected, I didn’t make it through owing to my nil interest in sciences. I pursued commerce and went on to complete my MBA in Marketing and Human Resources. I had the fantastic opportunity of working in two international organizations at the start of my career with some really inspiring women as my bosses.

Then, marriage, motherhood, and a six-year stay in the USA happened. My corporate career came to a standstill.

But I made the most of my time abroad, traveling, making friends from different nationalities, exploring the option of freelance writing, and learning how to be a domestic goddess. I chose to live in the present while wishing to return to corporate life someday, along with pursuing my author dreams.

We returned to India in mid-2016, where I got the opportunity to become an Assistant Professor in one of Hyderabad’s leading degree & PG colleges. I took up the offer and joined just three days after we set foot back in India. Amidst the jet lag, I went to teach for the first time.

It was around the same time in June 2016, when I started writing for the first time on a public platform. I had applied for the internship at Women’s Web with an ardent hope to make my dreams of being an author a reality someday.

It was a discovery that I enjoyed teaching, and to receive great feedback from the students was encouraging. But teaching was a serendipitous opportunity, and even though I enjoyed my stint, I knew that I didn’t want to continue with it. But I want to get back to teaching, or some form of it, at a later stage in my life. In the meanwhile, I was slowly finding my ground on Women’s Web to pursue writing seriously on issues that I felt passionately about.

Anyway, I decided to work from home in 2017 before getting back to a full-time job as I wanted to look into my child’s well-being and her transition to a new country. I had missed out on that earlier as I joined work as soon as I came to India.

So, for a year, I worked from home, taking up freelance projects while pursuing my passion for creative writing. I ventured into more genres of writing like parenting, politics, literary fiction, etc., on other platforms such as Momspresso, YouthKiAwaaz, and Blogchatter as well.

When I rejoined the workforce in mid-2018, I knew that I wanted to make the most of my lost time and opportunities. I had nearly a decade-old corporate sabbatical, but I was determined to make my way up from scratch all over again.

Life today

I couldn’t be surer of my career decisions. It’s been more than a year of working full-time in the exciting field of digital marketing while pursuing my passion for writing on the side, winning the prestigious Rashtriya Gaurav Award 2019, in association with the Government of Telangana for the “Author of the Year” (Bhumi). YouthKiAwaaz has approached me to work as a news reporter for them this year. So, my dreams of becoming a journalist have come true.

Recently, I asked Nadine if she wanted me to return to working from home. She told me that she was fine and not to quit my job if that’s what I enjoyed doing.

So much has changed ever since I rejoined work. I know that I have dedicated a whole decade of my life solely to the well-being of my child. Mostly due to circumstances, and I gave it my all. I still do as a parent, alongside my career dreams.

I have been a SAHM (Stay-at-home-mother), freelancer, professional, academician, creative artist, and entrepreneur in my career to date. And I know that there’s dignity in all kinds of work, and we need to own our choices with pride.

Dream a little dream of me

It’s not selfish to dream of dreams for yourself. As a woman, we are told by society that our lives come last. But, we need to put ourselves first out there.

My mother’s solid advice to me was to be financially independent. No matter what the circumstances are. Like every daughter, she’s my role model. I don’t need to look elsewhere.

I explained to Nadine that I loved my current work and the little joys that come with it. How I liked dressing up, going out, meeting people, working on new and challenging projects, and being financially independent. I loved pursuing my passion for writing, and it’s a childhood dream that will never fade irrespective of my corporate job. I loved teaching, and that was my retirement plan. I would teach for free. I loved working at home, be it cooking, tidying up the place, or organizing stuff. I enjoyed working out and looking good for myself. It makes me happy. It makes everyone around me happier.

Today, I am a marketer, an award-winning author and blogger, a writing coach, a homemaker, cook, mother, and much more.

Even though all these jobs seem unrelated, together, they form a unique career all of my own. A career that includes life-long learning and promises stability and excitement.

A career is a culmination of all the jobs that I do and how I weave them together to form a bigger picture.

In a nutshell,

Career is a reflection of me – my personality, values, and work.

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